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Hero   Strategy   Counters   Equipment   Gear   Responses   Sounds   Lore   Old Abilities   Changelogs   Known Bugs  


Bristleback minimap icon.png Bristleback is a very good tank not only because of his formidable health pool, but also because of one of his abilities Bristleback ability icon.png Bristleback, making him more durable when fighting with his back against his enemy. His Viscous Nasal Goo icon.png Viscous Nasal Goo helps slow down enemy and reducing its armor, Quill Spray icon.png Quill Spray help dealing stack damage, and Warpath icon.png Warpath further increases his attack damage and movement speed. Being a carry and a tank at the same time, he can easily become team's initiator, capable of dealing and taking tons of damages in a teamfight.
Pros Cons
  • Very durable.
  • Good physical damage.
  • Effective ganker early and mid game.
  • Can chase down fleeing enemy easily.
  • Low Str compared to other Str Heroes
  • Low Agi gain and armor
  • Has mana issues in early and mid game.
  • Not effective against high-armor heroes.



Ability Builds[edit]

Generic Bristleback
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 25
Quill Spray icon.png Bristleback ability icon.png Viscous Nasal Goo icon.png Quill Spray icon.png Quill Spray icon.png Warpath icon.png Quill Spray icon.png Bristleback ability icon.png Bristleback ability icon.png Talent icon.png Bristleback ability icon.png Warpath icon.png Viscous Nasal Goo icon.png Viscous Nasal Goo icon.png Talent icon.png Viscous Nasal Goo icon.png Nil icon.png Warpath icon.png Talent icon.png Talent icon.png


Hero Talents
+25 Quill Spray icon.png Quill Spray Stack Damage 25 +30 Health Regen
10% Spell Lifesteal 20 +50 Attack Speed
+4 Max Viscous Nasal Goo icon.png Goo Stacks 15 +225 Health
+2 Mana Regen 10 +8 Strength attribute symbol.png Strength
  • Health regen and mana regen are added as bonuses and do not benefit illusions.
  • Upgrading health increases maximum health capacity and keeps the current health percentage.
  • The spell lifesteal stacks additively with that of Octarine Core icon.png Octarine Core.
  • The spell lifesteal heals for 2% from non-hero units. Treats creep-heroes as creeps and does not heal off of illusions.

Tips & Tactics[edit]


  • Bristleback's mana woes can easily be remedied by a Sage's Mask icon.png Sage's Mask or a Ring of Basilius (Active) icon.png Ring of Basilius, since his abilities have extremely low mana costs.
  • One of Bristleback's main weaknesses is his lack of disables, meaning he cannot silence or interrupt an enemy from casting spells. You can either rely on your teammates for disables, or buy an item of your own, so long as it benefits him in some way (a good example would be a Scythe of Vyse icon.png Scythe of Vyse, since it gives him good mana regeneration for his abilities, and a devastating hex disable).
  • Beware Legion Commander minimap icon.png Legion Commander and Axe minimap icon.png Axe, as both of them have abilities that force you to turn and face them for a few seconds, ensuring their and their teams damage is not directed to your back and thus making you far more vulnerable in a teamfight.
  • Be careful on activating Crimson Guard icon.png Crimson Guard while Blade Mail icon.png Blade Mail is turned on since crimson guard can block damage and cant return 100% damage back while blade mail is activated. Alternately use on offense and defense positions.


Viscous Nasal Goo icon.png Viscous Nasal Goo[edit]

  • Viscous Nasal Goo has extremely useful effects, provided that you keep casting it against your target, as it slows their movement speed for a lot when stacked up. Since each casts fully refreshes the whole stack's duration, and the duration is more than twice as long as the cooldown, after reaching the stack cap, you can time it so that you refresh the debuff before it expires, instead of continuously casting it whenever off cooldown. This way, you waste less of the duration, save some mana for your quills and can catch up faster to your target.
    • This ability is very effective when combined with Warlock minimap icon.png Warlock's Fatal Bonds icon.png Fatal Bonds, as the damage inflicted on the Viscous Nasal Goo target from other bound creeps or heroes is applied to the armor reduced hero at said reduced value. This makes the Bristleback/Warlock minimap icon.png Warlock lane combination very potent, even into the late game. When combined with area of effect items and attacks, a lot of damage can be dealt very quickly.

Quill Spray icon.png Quill Spray[edit]

  • Quill Spray can be used to secure last hits, whether from range or timing it with your regular attack.

Bristleback ability icon.png Bristleback[edit]

  • Use your passive ability Bristleback to your advantage; anticipate enemy attacks and turn your back on them, so that you can reduce as much damage as you can.
    • Please note that you should not turn your back towards projectiles flying towards you, but the original damage source.
    • An early ability point on this ability during the laning phase can help you stay in the lane a while longer, especially if you are having trouble against attacks.

Warpath icon.png Warpath[edit]

  • Even if your enemies can easily defend against you with a Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand, you can still heavily damage them with Warpath; as long as you're stacking your spells against them, the bonus damage will do its job.




  • Ring of Health icon.png Ring of Health builds into both Vanguard icon.png Vanguard and Hood of Defiance icon.png Hood of Defiance and can be picked up in the Side Shop, letting Bristleback weather almost any harass in lane.
  • Boots of Speed icon.png Boots of Speed gives valuable movement speed.
  • Soul Ring icon.png Soul Ring provides you with virtually unlimited mana, as well as builds from the Enchanted Mango you bought.
  • Magic Stick icon.png Magic Stick and Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand are great on Bristleback, as he wants to be in a fight for as long as possible, giving him a chance to potentially use up charges twice for very large amounts of healing, and every two charges will grant him enough mana for an extra Quill Spray or Viscous Nasal Goo.


  • Power Treads icon.png Power Treads are the boots of choice on Bristleback, as they make him tankier and increase his attack speed, which goes well with Warpath.
  • Vanguard icon.png Vanguard is one of a few strong early to mid-game pickups on Bristleback. It is best against teams that have a large amount of physical damage, and especially against teams with summons (Enigma minimap icon.png Enigma, Visage minimap icon.png Visage, etc) or dominated creeps (Enchantress minimap icon.png Enchantress, Chen minimap icon.png Chen). Note that the damage block is deducted from the full attack damage, before any damage reduction (such as from armor or the Bristleback ability) takes place. Builds into a Crimson Guard icon.png Crimson Guard.
  • Hood of Defiance icon.png Hood of Defiance, as opposed to Vanguard icon.png Vanguard, is a much stronger choice when the enemies rather rely on magical damage. It upgrades into a Pipe of Insight icon.png Pipe of Insight.


  • Solar Crest icon.png Solar Crest provides survivability through armor and evasion. The mana regeneration also helps with casting spells.
  • Blade Mail icon.png Blade Mail is a hybrid pickup of damage and defense. It is strong against teams with high amounts of burst damage, either causing the enemies to take the damage themselves as well, or forcing them to not use their burst damage, giving Bristleback some time to deal with them.
  • Heaven's Halberd icon.png Heaven's Halberd is a strong pickup if you're not the hardest carry on your team or the enemy team only has one physical damage dealer that it can be used on. The evasion as well as the strength increase can add a lot to Bristleback's effective health.
  • Lotus Orb icon.png Lotus Orb further bolsters defense with armor and health regeneration. Echo Shell can also dispel silences that plague Bristleback, while reflects many targeted spells back to enemy casters. The mana and mana regeneration also helps him to continuously cast Viscous Nasal Goo and Quill Spray.
  • Assault Cuirass icon.png Assault Cuirass has amazing synergy with Bristleback, as it is one of the few items that can increase the damage of his Quill Spray. It also increases his and his team's tankiness against physical damage, and the attack speed greatly increases his attack damage output thanks to Warpath. It also is a great pickup if there are other carries on your team which rely on physical attacks.
  • Crimson Guard icon.png Crimson Guard is built off of a Vanguard icon.png Vanguard, which is also a good item on Bristleback, and is an item any team should have one of if up against a physical damage heavy lineup.
  • Pipe of Insight icon.png Pipe of Insight is built off of a Hood of Defiance icon.png Hood of Defiance, which is also a good item on Bristleback, and is an item any team should have one of if there are any dangerous nukers on the enemy team.
  • Shiva's Guard icon.png Shiva's Guard is another large armor item, and it fixes any mana issues Bristleback can have. The active ability also gives Bristleback more presence in teamfights, damaging and slowing enemies in a huge area.
  • Heart of Tarrasque icon.png Heart of Tarrasque grants a huge amount of health and gives you significant regeneration when not in a fight against heroes. It helps in siege situations, where you can soak up lots of damage and then wait a short time to be back at full health. The immense health boost allows Bristleback to use the passive Quill Spray to their full potential, as he can tank significantly more, retreat to heal up and then repeat.
  • Radiance (Active) icon.png Radiance is great on Bristleback if you can get it early in the game after a couple of items to tank up. This is basically a get-more-ahead item, as if you're hard to kill despite putting so much gold into an offensive item, it can be the best item to snowball the rest of the game by farming quickly and dealing massive area damage in teamfights. However, if you get this item at the cost of being tanky, this is a terrible item to pick up.